La face cachée de la lune
Autumn 2004 Edge series
Sunday, October 10, 2004 at 7:00pm
Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS
Rated NR ·
Since his debut feature Le Confessionnal (which opened the Toronto International Film Festival in 1995), Robert Lepage has continually impressed audiences and critics alike with his facility for visual representations of complex thematic matters. With La Face Cachée de la Lune, which screened as part of the Perspective Canada programme at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, Lepage returns to adapting his own theatrical work for the screen (as he did for Le Polygraphe and Nô). He interweaves themes of scientific progress and competition, the nature of the cosmos and personal relationships, while evoking the awe-inspiring beauty of the celestial world.
Before Galileo, it was believed that the moon was a reflection of the globe. The film’s title refers to the side of the moon that can never be seen from Earth. When lunar exploration finally exposed this side, it was revealed to be a scarred surface pockmarked with disfiguring craters. Lepage employs this discovery as a metaphor to delve into the nature of oppositional forces that exist within each person and how these might be reflected in the conflicts between nations.
The film juxtaposes the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States with the sibling rivalry between two brothers whose mother has recently passed away. Philip (played by Lepage) is a forty-something doctoral student who has repeatedly failed to defend his dissertation (specifically, on the conquest of space). His gay brother André (also played by Lepage) is a moderately successful weather reporter. As the brothers dispose of their mother’s belongings, we gain insight into the forces that simultaneously oppose and unite these two very different men. Shot using High Definition digital technology, La Face Cachée de la Lune makes use of subtle visual effects to invoke Philip’s unique relationship to the cosmos. Lepage skillfully parallels the nature of space — its beauty, ugliness and mysteries — with familial bonds.